“Water is liquid capital” proclaims the lead-out of World Wide Fund for Nature’s new report “The Role of the Mekong in the Economy.” Released earlier this month at the 2016 Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy, the report’s findings stress that despite the Mekong’s central role to the economies of countries in the Lower Mekong Basin, river management decisions are not being coordinated with long term economic development, nor planning efforts. Unless decision makers start considering the connections between water choices and economic development, the region’s prosperity seems destined for trouble.
The film is a powerful indictment of the country’s rogue crime and drug-infested jade mines, though at its core it is a human story of brothers reuniting and reconnecting, of attempting to define the inexplicable. Shot is Mandalay and Hpakant, Kachin State’s “city of jade”, the movie took two years to complete. Production was steeped in technical and cultural challenges, says Midi Z. The harsh physical environment, as well as cultural factors made production particularly difficult.
Extractives Industry (EI) activities in the Mekong Region have been controversial, causing environmental impacts and con icts between the private sector and affected communities. Although the mining and extractives sector in Cambodia is still relatively small, in recent years there have been a large number of exploration licenses granted to both local and international companies. Cambodia is on the verge of a major expansion of its EI. However, the legal framework governing mining in Cambodia is still undeveloped and concerns have been raised by communities that there is a lack of transparency in the licensing and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.
A Chinese firm has proposed building a zinc mill at an economic zone in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien-Hue, raising a few eyebrows among local experts and members of the public.
On Oct. 10, police in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa arrested a popular blogger, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, who writes under the pen name Mother Mushroom. She is co-founder of a network of independent bloggers who often find themselves in the crosshairs of a regime that strictly controls the news media and does not tolerate dissent. Radio Free Asia quoted the network as protesting that Ms. Quynh is an “activist who has advocated for human rights, improved living conditions for people, and sovereignty for many years.”
Representatives from government, mining business operators, developments partners and non-government organisations met in Vientiane to consult on ways to improve and change mining sector licensing and investment systems in Laos.
Over 70 companies across 14 countries have invested more than US$700 million in the Thilawa special economic zone, but local residents affected by the project are still campaigning to have the next phase halted until issues around resettlement, compensation and environmental impact are resolved.